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DH Race of the Year Winner

After another long summer of dual-crown race action, over far too soon, it's time for us to pay homage to the very finest of all contests. There are so many factors that make a downhill race great besides the track itself; it could be due to record-setting results, flawless weather, incredible crowds, amazing atmosphere and one more very important, not-to-be-forgotten word, 'drama'. Typically it's the UCI downhill events that bring the best of the action, and once again that held true in 2016, with one particular World Cup rising to the top.

Not very original you say... Fair enough the 'Bill has been on the schedule since Kovarik took the first win back in 2002 (and quite a win that was), but hold your horses... While this is a venue where we are accustomed to seeing heroes born, this season we saw heroes also 'retired' and remembered too. Not only that but this time the annual northerly migration of the World Cup circus was a textbook DH event if ever there was one and with more drama than you could shake a 15 can-strong wizard stick at...

Fort William DH World Cup 2016 image

Unbelievable really, that following a decade and a half of racing in the land of whisky and haggis, the mighty Fort is still able to produce the goods like nowhere else. This year it produced them big time... Those in attendance were treated to astonishingly fine weather without interruption and surely some of the biggest crowds in highlands history. After a sun-stroke inducing trackwalk down through the heather, with the recent passing of the late Stevie Smith still very raw to everyone in the MTB community, #allthelads donned red t-shirts for a full run down the mountain to remember a legend. Later on MTB veteran and hero, Martyn Ashton, made his remarkable and truly inspiring lap onboard his specially equipped Sender, before Greg the GOAT did it again out of nowhere to conquer in the loose conditions. Other highlights included Rachel Atherton finally making it a hat-trick of Scottish wins, Adam Brayton going ballistic up on the hill to land on the podium for the first time and Steve Peat racing his last Fort William WC in front of a crowd of (more than) familiar faces. Finally, in the middle of the live-feed, the MTB world fell silent and was moved by the tear-jerking and quite profound memorial run of the sorely missed Canadian Chainsaw.

Steve Peat goes full plaid and argyle for his last WC race in Fort William.
Minnaar This one is for you Stevie.

Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesOne race to rule them all... Fort William 2016 showcased DH racing at its best in nigh-on every respect, while also weighing heavy with emotional and historical significance. A very deserving claimant to the PB awards throne - Nathan Hughes

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Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,486 articles

  • 143 2
 Ok, i've just remember the ghost lap of Smith. Fckn onions...
  • 25 1
 There, there, have a piece of cheese...
  • 17 0
 Such a historic moment for the mountain bike world. #longlivechainsaw
  • 9 0
 ninja cutting onions back at it again #longlivechainsaw
  • 9 0
 I was at the the finish line when his run 'started', it was one of my proudest moments as a mountain biker. The atmosphere was quite surreal. #longlivechainsaw
  • 1 0
 @LoganRory-314: oh man I can't even imagine...
  • 5 0
 @LoganRory-314: Was there too, one of the most surreal moments I've ever experienced. Was unbelievable the way the whole place went from mental to silent and back to mental, not one person spoiling the moment whatsoever. One hell of a weekend.
  • 62 0
 Not to forget ed master's quali run...
  • 19 2
 And race run Big Grin but it didnt beat branningan's 2015 windham run
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: My bad meant to positive prop, both legendary ; )
  • 20 2
 /pedant mode

It's "whisky" round here, not "whiskey"


An amazing weekend though. The weather was scorchio, the racing was fantastic and Peaty's Bar was amazing!
  • 11 0
 Oh so now there are missing vowels instead of extra ones.
  • 14 0
 @jpcars10s: Indeed. We invented both the language and the whisky. Play ball Wink
  • 5 1
 @thestigmk1: Well you've certainly invented history there at the very least.
  • 3 0
 @grandmastere: In which respect? Whisky was distilled and cask matured in Scotland before the white man even set foot on the North American continent.
  • 2 0
 @thestigmk1: Actually it was the Irish. But you certainly took it to the next level.
  • 12 1
 FW DH 16 will go down as one of the all time greats. It was The perfect weekend.#LongLiveChainsaw #PeatySigningOff
  • 10 2
 Fort William World Cup = Mecca.
  • 9 1
 *Martyn Ashton...
  • 6 1
 This was amazing. My first ever WC. Plus a buds stag do. Couldn't have asked for anything more.
  • 7 1
 Hands up if you in the crowd pic ????
  • 1 0
 just made the top right corner
  • 1 0
 I'm in the stage pic. You can't see me, I am behind the stage. In the bushes. Behind the big fence built to keep weirdo's out.
  • 7 2
 I'm South African and I approve this award! #GOAT
  • 5 0
 this race had indeed everything a race needs to become memorable
  • 4 0
 I totally agree with the above, for Stevie, Greg and Peaty, but for all out racing Val di sole was epic!
  • 1 0
 @vesko @bigtim @barrysbikes @neimbc no i heard 4th place gets a medal made from a rock picked up on the track and fifth place gets one of those gold coin chocolates.
  • 1 0
 So glad i made it to the WC at FW this year, what a superb event it was! Weather Gods defo played ball, and so many significant happenings. Awesome!
  • 1 1
 Fort Bill was so good this year for so many reasons. So much so I told myself to give it a break for a year, maybe two. Just so I don't lose that magic for a while yet.
  • 1 0
 Pretty much every one of them! Can't wait for the 2017 season!!!
  • 1 0
 No doubt. A dry race at FW for once.
  • 1 0
 It's awesome to see Minnaar getting the accolades he deserves!!
  • 1 0
 AHHH THIS just reminded me we're still months away from WC DH season. Frown
  • 1 0
  • 5 7
 FW FTW but 5 on the podium sucks x
  • 6 3
 I agree. Never really understood why it's 5 and not 3 like any other sport. What are the 4th and 5th spot medals. Aloy and steel? Also, has the PB font just changed?
  • 12 0
 @vesko: Not to be a wise guy, but Bronze is an alloy - but you're right - maybe make 'em aluminum and steel, but I think they only get medals at Worlds. Also 5 on the podium is great - gives more ambition and esteem to the guys who get there, and for the other guys to reach it.
  • 3 2
 @neimbc: Would that be the same as Aluminium?lol
  • 2 0
 @steviemarco: well strictly speaking most all metals are alloys to some degree, but aluminum is naturally occurring, whereas bronze isn't, but then steel is also an alloy - so maybe aluminum and iron!
  • 4 0
 @vesko: Maybe you're thinking the wrong way round, maybe 3rd is gold, 4th is Silver & 5th is Bronze, leaving 2nd to be Titanium and 1st is Carbon.
  • 2 1
 @neimbc: Rust potential with Steel
  • 1 0
 @neimbc: Think you missed steviemarco's point, he was referring to the American bastardisation of the word and the removal of the last i. Us Brits can get emotional about these things!
  • 2 0
 @djm35: Ok, true, thanks for pointing that out. If I may redeem myself, - my wife is South African Indian and speaks and spells as the Brits do.
  • 1 0
 @neimbc: Lol, fair enough, I used to live in South Africa and know they are influenced by both US and British english. For most South Africans football is soccer and crisps are chips for example. Either way is lekker and I bow to your superior knowledge of metals!
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